Comedians and Trumpists or, When Disaffection Becomes Sublime

Tertullian famously asked, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Just because one protests a given influence does not necessarily mean there is no influence. A few weeks ago one writer suggested the angry vote really does not influence an election. Yesterday one poll indicated Donald Trump would defeat every Democratic candidate were the election yesterday. Read More

Homeless-ness from the Eyes of the Homeless or, The Homeless One

The Curbside Chronicle represented my best find at the recent Indie Trunk Show at the State of Oklahoma Fair Grounds. Many of the handcrafted items, or locally produced products, lured us to a potential purchase. But, when Robert said, “I have an article in this one,” I was glad to have paid the $2. Read More

Don’t Blame Musburger

I should leave this one alone. I would have were it not for the morning anchors on our local CBS affiliate, News9. Reading the Wall Street Journal with the news playing in the background this morning I heard one of the anchors describe Al Musburger’s latent adolescence as cute. I became incredulous. Cute?!

My Dad and Musburger are the same age. I cannot imagine under what conditions my Dad would howl at a young woman younger than his granddaughters. That is not to say my Dad would not appreciate beauty. But, under no circumstances would he or has he ever stopped me to say, “Hey Todd, look at that young lady.” Not in my almost fifty years. Here are two samples of responses from my friends, roughly my age, on Facebook,

Marty Duren on Facebook,
Monday, January 7 at 8:06pm (11 hours ago) near Hermitage, TN
Somebody in the truck needs to get Musberger a drool cup. Good grief.

Greg Horton on Facebook,
Monday, January 7 at 8:06pm (11 hours ago) near Oklahoma City
Announcers rightly bored with game, now objectifying female spectators.

Marty and Greg offer reasons not to blame Musburger. First, let’s blame the camera men. Had they not been panning the crowd maybe Musburger would have never noticed A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend. Those in the truck could have easily offered shots of the mascots. Other games have featured commentators offering thoughts on family, even the wives of some players. None. None. Offered a suggestion to young boys as to how to capture Miss Alabama. “Get out and start throwing the football.” Second, we should blame the teams. Alabama played too well. Notre Dame, well, did not. The game was over in the first quarter. Not unlike our ability to call the OU game early in the 3rd Quarter of the Cotton Bowl. It was a yawner. My friend David Philips, an avid ‘Bama fan, updated his Facebook status keeping track of how out of balance the Tide’s scoring was. He wanted an even number of rushing touchdowns to passing touchdowns. Yes, the game got boring.

Know that Marty and Greg would never blame someone other than Musburger. But, our tendencies are to ignore responsibility. Their comments were not subversive allusions to Musburger’s innocence. Which leads me to cute.

When the morning anchor described the incident as cute, I immediately thought, “I need a new morning news show.” The sophomoric charade intended to entertain the early morning viewer reached an odd level. Musburger’s outburst may well be a Zizekian irruption of the real, it is not cute. One of those moments that pierces our otherwise managed impulses to reveal this is a man’s world and women are for our benefit. No, that is not how I think the world should be, but this may well reveal the as is structure that, in its throws of death, irrupts to remind us there is still work to do.

Many in my line of work talk much about worldview and having the correct one. But, few I have read get to this level. The arrangement described by some leaves the as is structure in tact only to dress it up and manage it so fewer irruptions betray the vocal aim. After all septuagenarians behaving adolescent is cute.

I am reminded of the sociological work, Guyland. The author argues female identity in our culture is cheapened as it flows through the male. If you have daughters, I would give it a read. I learned about the book several years go via Joe Thorn. Some will point to the Bible as source material to justify just such a move – that is, female identity formation is derivative through the male. The problem is what male, which male? The thinking surely follows that good Bible believing people cannot allow the neo-Freudian feminists any room to point out the way in which our culture, even in our churches, views childhood development has been deeply scarred by male only control groups out of which Freud drew his conclusions. If we really want to turn to the Sacred Text, we still must work through the Apostle Paul’s summary in Galatians 3 without the lens that explains away identity implications as he writes, “there is neither male nor female,” our identity is formed in our understanding of the Imago Dei. It is silly to think such work results in androgyny. That is sheer pandering.

Maybe we should not be so quick to poo poo the philosophical move intent to open up the subject rather than lock it down as an object. Of course it is easier to objectify a subject. We set the parameters for the object and then exclude all other possibilities. The young lady may possess beauty but if that is all we see the reaction is sure titillation. But, when the subject is not objectified an expanse is opened up to remind us the world is also seen through her eyes and not just our eyes only. It is not unlike Eugene Peterson’s description of his affection for the Scriptures. In his series, Eat This Book, he offers an analogy. After fifty years of marriage he knew his wife better than he ever knew his wife. And, after fifty years of marriage he did not know his wife any better. Peterson considers the Scriptures a vast subject and not an object to lock down. Surely you see some important implications.

Blaming Musburger comes with a price. We must also assume responsibility for creating the ongoing atmosphere where little boys will be told to throw footballs in the yard with their dads in hopes of landing a beauty. So, maybe we should do what is easier to do. Let’s leave the as is in tact and blame the girl. After all, were she not so beautiful, Musburger might have gone on about McCarron’s mother.

Milestones, More Fun Than . . ., and Love

“You never ask a woman her age,” so goes conventional wisdom. Today we will celebrate one of those milestone birthdays. Patty turns the new 40 today. Yes, you will have to guess as I plan not to threaten our weekend plans with a tell all. Happy Birthday Patty!

I recently noted that 2013 means several milestones for our family. Patty gets to kick it off today. We have talked about aging. You 30-somethings who may read this blog might begin thinking about this. Just yesterday we were 30-something. Our bodies begin to talk to us more frequently. We hear things like, “Why did you do that?” Or, “What were you thinking?” But, we keep going nonetheless.

usngrands2013Patty and me have shared four decade marking birthdays together. That is a milestone. We have actually looked forward to this season of life. We still get to hang out with our children, entertain our grandchildren, and do some things we have only talked about in the past. We hope to look back on this year and talk about the changes we made to maintain good health to enjoy what we may. For those of you nearing or past this milestone know what I am writing about.

There was a day when our bodies snapped back quickly after something strenuous. We could eat with impunity whatever we liked. Not so today. Increasingly we see those sweets showing up in not so sweet places. We will look for adding things to our diet that help with energy while disposing of those foods that sap that same energy. Exercise will take on a different purpose. We will swim and walk both to feel better and also to talk about what is next for us. We really enjoy each other’s company. We better, right?

In the attached photo you see our two grandsons. They add a measure of psychological energy. Cohen is at the place where sitting is for old people. He sits just long enough to catch his breath and then he grabs you by the finger as if to say, “Come on Grammy, there is fun to be had.” Max is hot on his heals. Now walking, he may not grab us by the hand yet, but he says, “Follow me!” We may collapse after chasing the two for a day, but that we can keep up spurs us to say, “We still got it!”

St. Augustine once asked, “What do I love when I say I love God?” The question could well be asked when we say we love our spouse, our children, our grands, or just about anyone with whom we are in relationship. Do we love them for what we receive? Do we love them for our experiences we share? Do we love them because they are people whom give meaning and add to our sense of purpose in this life? Do we love them because they love us?

Over the years I have heard Father Rohr talk about love from the vantage point of great suffering. He is prone to say, “Without great suffering there cannot be great love.” He certainly has Jesus in mind. My recent reading of Alain Baidou seems to say the same thing and criticizes the way we have sterilized the experience of love by hedging all our relationships against all risks. Zizek, channeled by Rollins, contends we confuse desire or being desired with love. That is why sometimes people experience the end of romance once we have caught our mate. The energy exerted in the chase dissipates once there is no chase. The problem is we love the idea of love or being in love and not the one whom we purport to love.

At that point we really do have to think about the other. It can no longer be what I want or pursue. And, that is the risk. The sort that says, “My interest is now in you.” And, “I will not marginalize nor adulterate you by allowing our future to only be seen though my eyes.” The two become one become two. And in our case, the two become one, become two, become four, become six, become eight, and . . .

Pragmatics and the Church, Or Mad Men May Expose Your Desire

It works. We just finished watching Season 1 of Mad Men. It only took me six months to get around to watching the last disc sent by Netflix. We are slow. And, in terms of keeping up with the story, we are woefully behind.

Peggy, Don Draper’s secretary, helped write a pitch for a product early on. Her aspirations to be more than an assistant grew with the realization she was good at copy writing. On the four final episodes, Peggy’s help is enlisted again. This time she is invited to help with a weight loss product for women. It became apparent that the apparatus did not really have any data to back up its claims, but after all the company is hired to sell a product not prove its claims.

Could the product live up to its billing? Peggy tried out the exercise device. Something like one of those products that promises to help lose weight without really expending any effort. Consider it something of an ultrasound device intended to stimulate muscles to contract for therapy with the hope that it would cause those pounds to fall off. You know the sort of thing, “You just wear this device, grab a good book, and read the pounds away.”

The problem came when the device had another effect. Read More